If there's one thing that came through loud and clear from a survey I sent out a few weeks ago to the athletes on our email list, it's that a lot of runners and triathletes are worried about losing fitness and their ability to "play" as they get older. They're worried about injury, too, particularly aging related injury. Reading some of the responses made me think of that old saying, "Father Time always wins." UGH.
Do these worries ever trickle into your head and keep you up at night?
It doesn't have to be that way. In fact, although Father Time ultmately wins, I believe that we CAN race him toe for toe until the very late stages of our lives. The key is the right kind of approach to training (and a little bit of luck!).
Ask yourself this question: When it comes to your body, what is the ONE thing you've lost (besides your hair!) as you've gotten older?
If you're like me and most others, you'll agree it's the ability to move freely and easily without any kind of restriction...just like you used to when you were a kid.
Simply put, what we most lose is mobility.
The effects of aging (along with piling up the miles) are tighter, shorter, and stiffer muscles, connective tissue, and joints. What used to be SO easy to do, like squatting down to the floor to pick something up, suddenly and exasperatingly becomes much harder.
That tightness and stiffness makes us much more prone to injury, too. Unfortunately, our body and its tissues become like that cracked and dried out elastic band you took out of your junk drawer that broke as soon as you stretched it.
Losing speed? Take the brakes off...
If your goal is to go FASTER, lost mobility really hurts that too! Think about sticking brake pads on your bike's wheel - makes it a lot harder to pedal and slows you down, doesn't it?
While no one can truly beat Father Time, the secret to staying younger and feeling better as you age, is simple. Not necessarily EASY mind you, but it is simple.
The secret is to HOLD ONTO that youthful mobility (if you have it), or if you've lost it, do what's required to get it back!
To that end, today I'm sharing a video with you that I know is going to help. This video shows you a simple movement that you can use to both assess your present level of mobility as well as how to get back on the path to restoring it, if you've lost it.
We may not be able to literally turn back the clock...but we don't have to act our age either! We can look AND feel younger than ever if we're willing to commit and do what is required.
Do you want that bad enough?
PS: I almost forgot: Here are some important TIPS on how to get the most from using this video and practicing this movement.
Start by asking yourself this important question: Where is your primary limiter?
Are you unable to keep your feet completely and totally flat? Are you able to easily keep your chest up and maintain a nice long spine, or are you hunched forward? Are you fairly comfortable, or the reverse - just plain unhappy down there? These are the critical questions to ask, for starters....
So what to do next?
Follow my guidance on the video and get started NOW.
Remember what well known strength coach and mentor, Dan John, and others have said: "if it's important, do it every day."
Here are some tips that reinforce what I share on the video:
- Do these barefooted, or if foot protection is necessary for you for whatever reason, use minimalist shoes that do not raise your heel.
- If you're unable to get your feet flat or you're unable to sit up straight, use a light weight to "counter" balance. Use the LIGHTEST weight you can get away with. Start with 10 lbs, 20 lbs or 35 lbs.
- As time goes on, work to reduce the need for the weight. You'll do that by increasing your calf length/ankle mobility, and hip mobility, as well as improving t-spine mobility.
- You could also place a small book or 2x4 type support under your heels to start off with, if you're unable to achieve good posture without it. Make it your goal to remove the need for it with diligent practice, stretching, and dogged determination!
When you can DEEP SQUAT comfortably and without the aid of any device, you'll see a concurrent improvement in your running comfort, and overall athleticism. You'll feel great!!!
Enjoy, and oh yeah, please send me some pictures of your BEFORE/AFTER progress!!
PSS: If you can do this movement really easily, then mobility isn't YOUR limiter. But stability and strength might be....